The 1950’s was a spectacular decade for the release of iconic dive watches, with many notable pieces coming to market.
Breitling joined this trend of producing professional timepieces with its launch of the Superocean Heritage in 1957. In honour of this classic watch and to celebrate its 60th anniversary, for 2017, the Manufacture has unveiled the Superocean Héritage II in two sizes, in addition to a chronograph version of the watch.
Sized at 42mm and 46mm, the Breitling Superocean Héritage II features a steel case with a Volcano Black, Gun Blue, or Copperhead Bronze dial and matching unidirectional rotating bezel with a fluted edge for easy grip when submersed. With a screw-locked crown at 3 o’clock to guarantee waterproofness, this watch offers water resistance to 200m (or 20 bar). Taking its design cues from the look of vintage timepieces, the Superocean Héritage II includes a sword-shaped minute hand and an arrow-headed hour hand, both of which are lume-filled, plus elongated, silvered hour markers that work to ensure legibility even in total darkness or at depth. An elegant piece with restrained design, a sizeable date window sits at 6 o’clock allowing for an overall symmetrical look. The dial’s peripheral minute track in white is encircled by a discreet ceramic ring, which replaces an element formerly made of steel and complements the dial and bezel colour that translates into a more harmonious composition.
Following similar design features as the three-hand iterations, Breitling’s Superocean Héritage II Chronographe edition is sized at 46mm only. Also available in the three different colours, this version’s dial has been adapted to fit three sub-dials at 6, 9, and 12 o’clock, which offer 1/4th of a second chronograph functionality, as well as 30-minute and 12-hour registers. As such, the Chronographe watch’s date window is found at the 3 o’clock mark. The rejigging of the watch face’s facets ensures that this edition still enjoys a classic aesthetic in keeping with the Superocean Héritage II 1950s throwback.
The 42mm and 46mm three-hand models are powered by the Manufacture Calibre B20, a movement that’s actually derived from Tudor’s Calibre MT5612, the engine that drives Tudor’s Black Bay Collection, which itself took elements from the Breitling B01. Having entered into a “movement exchange programme” for this year, it’s great to see two powerhouse watch brands collaborating and exchanging information to encourage each other’s watchmaking mastery. A self-winding, automatic movement — that can be admired via a sapphire crystal caseback — the Calibre B20 is officially chronometer-certified by the COSC, vibrates at a frequency of 28,800 beats an hour, and offers the wearer a generous power reserve of 70 hours.
The Breitling Calibre 13, on the other hand, powers the Superocean Héritage II Chronographe edition. Based on the Valjoux 7750, this chronograph movement is also COSC-certified and vibrates at a frequency of 28,800 beats an hour. It too can be viewed via a sapphire crystal caseback. Offering, as mentioned, the benefits of a 1/4th of a second chronograph functionality and 30-minute and 12-hour tracking, the trade off is that this calibre provides a lesser power reserve of around 42 hours.
With an impressive array of watchstrap or bracelet pairings from leather to rubber to steel mesh, the Superocean Héritage II is suited to all occasions and complements a range of styles. Considering that the original Breitling Superocean watches are now valuable collector’s pieces, fans of this brand’s professional instruments would do well to look to this series for their next horological investment.
See our entire collection of Breitling watches here.